A brand experience is the sum total experience one has with an entity and the perception one has of that entity. One of the key areas where this experience is strengthened (or destroyed) is the way the brand’s eco system ( its consumers, partners, vendors) perceive the employees of the brand they interact with. And this has far greater a impact than the advertising of the brand.
Current corporate cultures are still largely governed by ‘command-and-control practices that alienate many of today’s employees. Where as employees are (and should be) the key focal point for a brand in developing its relationships. By putting employees at the center of the brand experience, it changes the way senior management think about their organisational cultures- and the ways that these cultures, then, create rewarding employee experiences that in turn translate into positive and enduring customer experiences.
Yet, in-spite of all the talk of ‘people are our main asset’, the road to “employee-service-profit chain” success is mired in obstacles. If employees are distrusting and alienated from their organisations, what are the chances that they will provide customers and colleagues alike with a positive brand experience? And a positive experience is a must in order to have a repeatsale/usage of the brand and, more importantly, to get referrals.
So how do we get employees to build trust with the brand and be engaged and involved with the organisation?
Engagement programs are just that—ie: they provide a one-way street of communication. Commanding what should be the perceived brand image communication. Providing content to gain a buy-in. But not really providing any means of engagement or involvement from the employee.
Involvement, is the critical element. Intuitively we all understand what involvement is and how powerful (a force) it can be. When we are told to do something, we do it and then tend to forget about it. But when we are involved in something, we tend to be possessive and own it on an emotive level. And when emotion comes into play, passion is there, thereby enabling a strong, positive experience to take place, leading to forming trust. When trust grows, relationships are strengthened leading to repeat usage and referrals.
Thus when an organisation is moving into re-branding itself or it has merged with another entity and a new entity is formed, managing the cultural change becomes a top priority and a must in order to ensure that the end result of a positive brand experience is achieved. In order to be successful in this, it’s critical to have the employees’ involvement. And this involvement requires that a strong group process is in place. A process where the meetings and interactions take on a deeper meaning than just to meet in order to agree to the content of the meeting. A deeper meaning where one focuses more on honest conversation, high involvement and participation leading to strong, high trust relationships. All simple, effective and yet in a corporate set up, at times, hard to do elements.
Once a strong group process is in place leading to strong relationships based on individual involvement, implementing the rest of the plan in terms of content and communication channels and programs, is not hard, as each independent employee, driving those functions, believe and own it. As a result of which, each interaction is on a more personal, emotive and honest platform. All of which lead to having a positive brand experience output.